NFL playoffs 2021: Bracket, schedule, scores, and more

The NFL playoffs have arrived to conclude what’s been one of the most bizarre seasons of professional football in recent memory. The ever-present threat of Covid has hung over the NFL all season, infecting players and postponing games along the way. Now the league is ready to kick off an expanded playoff field in the Wild Card round with eight games set to take place between Saturday and Sunday.

Everything still feels like it moves through Kansas City, with the defending Super Bowl Champions looking as good as ever. Patrick Mahomes is still the best quarterback in the NFL, the Chiefs have buckets of talent on both sides of the ball, and Andy Reid remains one of the league’s great strategists. However, there’s challenge coming from Buffalo that can’t be ignored.

The Bills being this good isn’t exactly a surprise, but Josh Allen taking a step forward to becoming one of the league’s biggest threats is. Trading for Stefon Diggs was the missing piece Buffalo needed, and now the team looks like it could surprise beyond just making it to the AFC Championship — they could actually win it all.

The NFC, on the other hand, feels wide open. Sure, the Packers and Saints are still in the mix (especially with Drew Brees back), but there have been ample times this season where both teams have looked less dominant than usual. That’s kind of the story of the NFC in general. A lot of teams that are really good, and have excellent records — but none look convincing enough to hang an entire season on.

Green Bay should certainly be a factor late in the postseason, but a lot of attention will be paid to Tamp Bay. The Buccaneers have been up and down, even with their new-look roster, but this is the time where Tom Brady will earn his worth. A steady, experienced playoff hand should be able to lead this team deeper than they’d otherwise go.

This is all a lead up to Super Bowl LV, set to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay on February 7. Here’s the full schedule for the playoffs:

Wild Card Round

Byes: Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers

Saturday, January 9.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills (1:05 p.m. ET)

Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks (4:40 p.m. ET)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Football Team (8:15 p.m. ET)

Sunday, January 10.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Tennessee Titans (1:05 p.m. ET)

Chicago Bears vs. New Orleans Saints (4:40 p.m. ET)

Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (8:15 p.m. ET)

Divisional Round

Saturday, January 16.

NFC Divisional Round (TBD)

AFC Divisional Round (TBD)

Sunday, January 17.

NFC Divisional Round (TBD)

AFC Divisional Round (TBD)

Championship Round.

Saturday, January 23.

NFC Championship Game (TBD)

Sunday, January 24.

AFC Championship Game (TBD)

Super Bowl

Sunday, February 7.

Super Bowl LV

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